Our Guest Blogger Jule Goag is a shopholic on the lookout for the next deal too good to be true. She loves gadgets, lives in Seattle and wrote this article for readers of AmericanInventorSpot.com:
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Cell phones used to be thought of as portable phones, and nothing more. Sure, this is no mean feat, to have convenience sitting in the palm of your hand. It has impacted the lives of people in innumerous ways, from something as casual as calling ahead to notify someone that they might be late, to crucial moments such as being able to call a loved one for that last goodbye as the Word Trade Center collapsed.
However, cell phones have far outstripped their initial functionality. As we all know from advertisement bombardment and salespeople everywhere, cells now come with an almost bewildering array of features. Many of them now come with color LCD screens, cameras that rival some digital cameras, games, customizable ringtones, internet capabilities, instant messaging, etc. What's amazing is that not only do they come jam-packed with all these extra features, but also that they've been getting smaller, slimmer, and sleeker as time goes on.
Not just that, but in some countries such as Japan, Korea and Canada (coming soon), cells are being used in the place of debit and credit cards through the usage of implanted chips carrying the same information normally in credit and debit cards. As if this weren't incredible enough, there have been recent productions of models by LG and Samsung that have capabilities such as 3D video gaming, TV, and even a breathalyzer. You can see these two notable phones below. It's too bad for Americans, because these phones aren't going to be available in the US.
Samsung SCH-B450 Samsung SCH-B450: This phone is honestly trying to do it all. It not only has a great digital camera, but also comes with a TV-out (DMB tuner) which allows the user to not just watch TV on the cell but also to watch it on a bigger screen if they so choose. In addition, the phone comes with 3D gaming acceleration, supported with a keypad designed for gaming comfort. It also sports a too-cool hinged screen allowing it to flip alongside the keypad. It's almost cool enough to make me move to Korea. (See it here.)
LG BreathalyzerLG Breathalyzer Series: The LG SD410, KP4100 and LP4100 are all sleek cell phones trying to combine another useful function to take care of common side effects of parties: drinking and dialing. Ok, when the phone was first marketed it was really more for the drinking and driving problem that often claims so many fatalities. You're supposed blow onto a small spot on the phone. If it registers your blood alcohol concentration over 0.08 then it'll lock you out of the preprogrammed entries labeled as your parents, your boss, and your ex, among others. Of course, the idea is that if you see the magic number that you would retain rational judgment to declare yourself incapable of driving safely home.
I suppose the idea was that it's useful for more than just saving your life or someone else's on the road, but that it could also save your social life and dignity. It's been a huge hit in Korea, already selling more than 200,000 units. Unfortunately, after initial statements of releasing it to the US market, LG has changed its mind. One can only guess that the Sharper Image being sued for its inaccurate breathalyzers is a possible reason. What this tells me is something I was already assuming anyway; the breathalyzer feature is more for your dignity than as a truly practical indicator for whether you should drive. (See it here.)
New Turns in Modifications, for Better or Worse?
So far, I continue to scan the news for other new hoops the cell could possibly jump through, but I have not seen very many other positive possibilities.
One thing I've heard rumors of is of cell phones implementing the smell tone. Instead of a normal ringtone, it is designed to instead spray a fragrance in the air. For many reasons, this doesn't exactly appeal to me. For one, I don't welcome the idea of my purse or pockets being sprayed with whatever fragrance. Also, the fragrance comes from cartridges that have to be refilled. This makes for a bulkier phone design overall. Samsung seems to be the biggest brand going in this direction. I think their gaming cell is a hit, but this smell tone thing might be a miss.
Hopefully, as cell manufacturers and designers search for other customizable features, they'll remember to look for some elements of utility and functionality, as well as focusing on the cool and new factor.
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